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Couple questions about computer/office chairs

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User Info: t0nit0nich0pper

t0nit0nich0pper
3 months ago#1
So, I just bought a couple computer/office chairs and I was wondering about a couple things.

Firstly, I noticed that both of the chairs that I bought use a type of foam called polyurethane foam and I was wondering if that was a safe chemical to be used on a chair that I'll be sitting on for most of the day.

Secondly, I noticed the smell of the padding on both chairs was rather strong and was wondering if anyone knows if that will dissipate after a while (I actually waited a week for the first one's smell to dissipate and it didn't, so I'm not sure if it ever will).

Finally, I'd like to know what people think in general about computer/office chairs these days. Is anyone else having trouble finding good computer chairs (that don't smell like chemicals) or am I the only one? Also, if you do have a good computer chair and are happy with it, let me know in this topic so maybe myself and other people can find a good one.

These are the chairs I bought:

Mainstays Mid-Back Leather Office Chair
walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Mid-Back-Leather-Office-Chair-Black/52647613

Mainstays Mesh Office Chair With Arms
walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Mesh-Office-Chair-With-Arms-Multiple-Colors/349950722

User Info: Ragnasty

Ragnasty
3 months ago#2
1 It's safe. It's actually not a chemical. It's a material, but it's safe
2 You can wash them, yourself
3 I like spinning in them :D
I like to play Sony systems

User Info: t0nit0nich0pper

t0nit0nich0pper
3 months ago#3
I'm noticing that most office chairs use polyurethane foam as the cushion material on the seat, so I'm assuming that it's safe since basically every available office chair uses it. Now I'm just wondering does all polyurethane foam have a smell? Also, does anyone know how long it will take to dissipate if it does smell?

User Info: t0nit0nich0pper

t0nit0nich0pper
3 months ago#4
bump

User Info: somebadlemonade

somebadlemonade
3 months ago#5
the trick to getting rid of the smell is to sit in it for a while let it heat up to body temperature and then repeatedly get up and sit back down.

i had to do the same with a foam mattress, every once in a while you might catch a whiff but it'll only be momentary

as for the chair i mostly use is a mesh chair both back and seat, i like the breathe-ability so much more in the summer, it took a while to get used to it, as i was coming from a super broken in chair that was basically a 5 year old chair when i got it and i used it for a decade.\

since i gotten used to my mesh chair i haven't felt all that comfortable in other padded chairs, they tend to let you have bad posture when seated, which my lower back hates now like a thousand red hot needles across my lower back if i sit more than an hour in a slumped position.

i even tried an exercise ball to solve it, but a simple mesh chair that cost me all of $80 at costco like 3-4 years ago, seemed to let me fix my posture without giving up height adjustment.
Meh posting brought to you by SBL inc. Makers of The Only Ink that Stinks!

User Info: t0nit0nich0pper

t0nit0nich0pper
3 months ago#6
So am I correct to assume that basically every office chair available these days uses these chemicals and stinks like this?

I actually did have an office chair before and I don't remember it having any smell whatsoever. Unfortunately they stopped making that chair so I have no way of being sure if that's true or not.

Either way, I do know for a fact that you do NOT need chemicals to make a chair. I don't really know why so many chair makers have these chairs that are just completely saturated with chemicals like this, it's really disappointing. I might just have to buy a wooden chair or some other sort of plastic or metal chair that doesn't stink horribly just to have a decent place to sit.

User Info: Pitlord_Special

Pitlord_Special
3 months ago#7
Yeah, the smell comes from the foam as small amounts of reactants used in the polymerization process are trapped in the polymer matrix where they slowly evaporate into the air

As for the time it takes to dissipate...will depend on the temperature and how much air circulation you have in the room with the chair. Hotter and more airflow will evaporate it faster

Though I would probably expect it to last at least on the order of weeks to a few months.

Maybe try to find a used chair if it really bothers you, or buy a chair and let it sit in the garage, closet, laundry, or storage room or wherever else you don't spend much time in until it's aired out sufficiently

User Info: t0nit0nich0pper

t0nit0nich0pper
3 months ago#8
Pitlord_Special posted...
Yeah, the smell comes from the foam as small amounts of reactants used in the polymerization process are trapped in the polymer matrix where they slowly evaporate into the air

As for the time it takes to dissipate...will depend on the temperature and how much air circulation you have in the room with the chair. Hotter and more airflow will evaporate it faster

Though I would probably expect it to last at least on the order of weeks to a few months.

Maybe try to find a used chair if it really bothers you, or buy a chair and let it sit in the garage, closet, laundry, or storage room or wherever else you don't spend much time in until it's aired out sufficiently


Thanks for this post. It's definitely been very informative.

I just wish the smell wasn't there to begin with. Also, I feel like it's so unnecessary to use these types of chemicals on office chairs. I mean obviously you can make a comfortable chair using completely odorless cotton padding and it would be perfectly fine.

I don't really know why so many manufacturers insist on making chairs like this with chemicals that smell so much. I mean why should I have to let a brand new chair "air out" for a couple weeks or months before I can use it. It just seems totally inconvenient and a hassle to me.

User Info: t0nit0nich0pper

t0nit0nich0pper
3 months ago#9
Also, I just want to add that I've done a little research on this (not a lot) and I keep seeing people mention that polyurethane IS in fact toxic, which raises the obvious question; why do so many manufacturers use it to make various products?

On wikipedia (wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyurethane) it states that "Fully reacted polyurethane polymer is chemically inert." however it does not state how to get polyurethane to a "fully reacted" state, or if most products come not "fully reacted" yet (which would be bad and might explain why they smell so much).

I'm assuming that the polyurethane must be at a certain (presumably high) temperature and (presumably low) humidity in order for it to "cure" or "dry" or "off-gas" or "be fully reacted". However, I don't know exactly what those conditions need to be at in order for that to happen or how long it takes.

This forum (sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?141611-Polyurethane-dry-cure-time) states that it could take from 3-4 weeks for polyurethane oil based finishes to fully cure or dry. There is also mention of "a temperature of 77° to 95°" (fairly high temperatures) and "20%-40% humidity" (fairly low humidity). But they are talking about polyurethane oil based finishes here, it could be completely different for polyurethane foam.

So, overall I'm just really surprised that so many manufacturers are using this in their products and people are just accepting the fact that their chair or couch may smell strongly of chemicals for a few weeks or months until it "off-gases". It seems like there should be some sort of at least somewhat popular "less potentially harmful/toxic" alternative (e.g. cotton padding inside a cotton casing) to the seemingly monopolized use of polyurethane foam in chairs and couches.

It does seem like quite a few people are genuinely concerned with having polyurethane being used in so many products these days. In fact it's almost impossible to find chairs or couches that don't use it. So, I think these people and myself would really appreciate seeing a "less potentially harmful/toxic" alternative (e.g. cotton padding) used in at least some chairs so we have a choice about whether or not we're using something that may be harmful to our health.

Unfortunately, I don't really know how to make such big changes in the market and society. So, I guess I'll just have to either accept this (seeing as how so many major corporations and consumers have already) and hope that it's not that harmful, look for a nice wooden chair, or just build my own.

User Info: Monopoman

Monopoman
3 months ago#10
It's the same reason a brand new car has a certain smell to it, these things maintain an odor when they are new for a while. s*** I play some collectible card games in real life, and when you open a pack of cards you can get a distinct odor if you smell them right away.
BF ID: Birck #1559845599
Leads: Senbonzakura Miku, Xenon, Bjorn+Linlin
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